2009 - 2021
On November 25, 2009 Renegade was born. I knew from the start he was special. When he was about 5 months old, I had a typical PTSD night terror. This night something odd happened. There was something heavy pawing at my chest and licking me. I awakened to Renegade on top of me trying to wake me up. No dog ever had done anything like that before. Once I was awake, Renegade laid over my chest. He was breathing so slowly, and for the first time in a long time, I fell back asleep. Renegade did something for me that never happened before; he helped me get grounded allowing me to go back to sleep safely.
It happened several other nights. I began learning about training him as a PTSD service dog.
The first year, Renegade learned how to be a very good puppy with basic and advanced training. The second year of training was learning the tasks I needed him to do. He also learned how to behave in public places where pets were not allowed. All in all, I believe he knew over 20 trained tasks.
Over our years working together I got a life back I thought was beyond hope to have. Renegade loved working and would get so excited when I pulled his vest off the hook to work. He wiggled so much it was hard to snap it on him!
During his career we had many adventures! We flew to Seattle to be in a wedding. He was personally invited to weddings when I was. Literally, his name was on the invitation. He even had a bow tie made just for him to wear. He accompanied me to museums and zoos. We went to concerts, bowling alleys, and many trips for groceries or meals out. He was an ambassador for service dogs everywhere we went.
In the summer of 2020, Renegade had a seizure. I rushed him to the vet. He stayed the day with them so they could treat him. Now knowing he was at risk to have a seizure anywhere at any time, I made the decision to retire Renegade from public work. This was a hard adjustment for both of us.
On August 29, 2021 at 8:00pm Renegade was asleep and began to seize. I got down on the floor with him to comfort him and protect his head from slamming on the wood floor. A couple hours later Renegade seized again. I knew this was not a good sign. I contacted an emergency vet to let them know we were on the way.
As soon as we arrived they immediately took him from my arms to begin stabilizing him. The vet came out to give me an update on him and her plan for treatment. All seemed better. An hour and a half later she came back out to let me know Ren was trying to seize even medicated. Not good news. He stayed under her care until time for us to leave and go to our vet at home. As soon as they opened I carried my boy straight inside and left him in their trusting hands and the Lord’s.
Around 3:30 in the afternoon I received a call to come see Renegade. He was not well. There was nothing more we could do for him. At 4:30pm on 8/30/2021 I said goodbye to my right hand man and best working service dog and basset hound ever. I couldn’t let him suffer. Renegade had given me his all his entire life! I had to do what was kindest for him. His brother, Huey, was with us as we said our goodbyes.
Renegade, I miss you, but am so thankful you will have no more seizures or fear. You left such a huge impact on my life and those you met along the way. I love you. Renegade 11/25/2009-8/30/2021